Exploring the issue of trust in B2B relationships

Posted in Customer relationship management.

How to build trust in B2C relationships is something that is frequently discussed. However, there aren’t many of the same kinds of conversations taking place for B2B relationships, despite B2B relationships being equally as important in terms of ongoing business success. B2B buyers are seeking partnerships with businesses that they trust will bring value to their organisation and help them on their journey to achieving their growth and development goals.

Unfortunately, the act of achieving this level of trust is proving to be somewhat elusive for many B2B suppliers. The trust simply isn’t there, creating an obstacle to growing a loyal customer base, boosting sales, improving reputation, and ultimately increasing profits. So exactly what is the problem?

Let’s take a look at three of the primary concerns regarding trust in B2B relationships:

B2B buyers don’t trust advice and recommendations

Studies show that more than half of all B2B buyers would prefer to research available products and services themselves, rather than discussing their options with a sales rep, marketer, or another company spokesperson. The reason? It’s a possibility that suppliers prioritise their own agendas above the buyer’s interests so why trust what they have to say?

The Solution: A Harvard study found that 86% of B2B buyers surveyed were much more likely to trust the advice of their B2B partner if that partner actively listened and took a proactive approach to sales. Therefore, gaining trust with one business may help garner trust from another.

Digital trust is an issue for B2B buyers

20% of B2B suppliers questioned for research purposes claimed that their B2B buyers don’t trust them to safely and securely manage confidential data. This, of course, is a major concern at a time when many businesses are undergoing digital transformation and looking at digital solutions for their data storage.

The Solution: B2B suppliers should be investing in more secure systems and software. There should also be a move to offering greater transparency in technology and to making cybersecurity a priority.

B2B buyers are struggling to obtain quality information from suppliers

The delivery of poor-quality information and sub-optimal service is resulting in a new generation of B2B buyers who are distrustful of suppliers, and who see a greater risk in partnership. This is worrying at a time when B2B buyers are actively looking to partner with businesses that they feel they can trust.

The Solution: Information quality can be boosted through technological solutions. Mobile apps ensure that all vital information is available at the touch of a button (or swipe of a screen) anywhere, any time. It is much easier to trust a business when you aren’t wondering what cards they are hiding from you.

Building B2B Trust

Businesses are taking more time to select the B2B organisations that they partner with and are making their choices more carefully to maximise value. Therefore, it is essential for B2B sellers and suppliers to put an equal amount of effort into becoming a preferred option. By prioritising trust in their B2B relationships, and in taking the necessary measures to build this trust with clients, businesses can successfully meet these evolving customer needs and improve the strength of their partnerships.